This Is the Splashiest Vikings Mock Draft Yet
The Minnesota Vikings enter the 2024 offseason with a bunch of uncertainties as quarterback Kirk Cousins and star defender Danielle Hunter have played their final games in a Vikings uniform unless general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah hands them a new deal in the next month and a half before free agency begins. Searching for a future franchise quarterback is the most significant task for those in charge.
This Is the Splashiest Vikings Mock Draft Yet
Obviously, that can be done in the draft. A problem Adofo-Mensah encounters is that the teams with the top three picks in April–Chicago Bears, Washington Commanders, and New England Patriots– are all viewed as potential destinations for passers, leading to them frequently picking the first three quarterbacks in the draft.
Although the upcoming QB class is a good one with some excellent options in the second tier of players, the Vikings want to get it right so picking one of the remaining players is not that intriguing. That directly leads to the need to trade up for one of those prospects. Joe Broback from Pro Football Network envisions a thrilling scenario in his latest mock draft where the Vikings trade up to the first overall position. It is a hefty price:
2024 1st Overall Pick
2025 6th-Round Pick
2024 1st-Round Pick
2025 1st-Round Pick
2024 2nd-Round Pick
2025 2nd-Round Pick
2024 4th-Round Pick
That is a costly move, but Broback explains his thoughts: “There’s a growing belief that Minnesota wants to move up in this draft, but at what cost? To get Drake Maye or Caleb Williams, the Vikings give up significant draft capital. How much remains to be seen, but it’s likely they’ll need more if they trade with Chicago.”
Drafts within the division used to be off-limits, but Adofo-Mensah has proven that he doesn’t care about it, and he has already fired up deals with Green Bay and Detroit, so why not Chicago?
The Bears employ Justin Fields, who has shown promise in the second half of the season, and GM Ryan Poles could just repeat last year’s process–shipping the pick for a massive haul, continuing to build the team around the QB, and sticking with Fields, a player with outstanding athletic tools.
Minnesota, meanwhile, picks Drake Maye in Broback’s scenario, passing on Caleb Williams, the presumed first-overall pick. Trading up secures one of the top prospects on the board, and according to the Star Tribune’s Ben Goessling, that might be in play: “If they’re going to take one, it’s going to be someone we love, or we’re not doing it. If you have to give up a couple first-round picks for future years, I don’t think they’d bat an eye at that.”
So finding the best possible player is more important than keeping assets for Adofo-Mensah; good news, as the Vikings haven’t had that mentality in quite some time. Picking Christian Ponder and Teddy Bridgewater out of necessity rather than selecting an elite QB prospect hasn’t worked out. The passer from UNC is a good fit, according to Broback:
“Maye is a great fit in Minnesota’s offense. He has the arm talent to move the ball down the field on all three levels, and that’s a major crux as to why he’s considered a top-two pick. He’ll do well under Kevin O’Connell’s tutelage, but Maye also gives the Vikings an aspect they didn’t have with Kirk Cousins. One of the biggest gripes with Cousins was his inability to escape pressure frequently. Maye’s mobility allows this team to breathe more easily, and now the fan base can wait to see how he develops.”
The 21-year-old is an excellent player from inside the pocket but can run the ball. While Williams is a player who tries to achieve the big play via scrambles all the time, Maye prefers to execute the play as he’s supposed to first with an added off-schedule ability.
As Joshua Dobbs and Nick Mullens have proven, O’Connell’s scheme is good enough to be effective when executed right, and the quarterback isn’t asked to do unthinkable highlight plays. Doing the right and easy thing is the task, and Maye excels at that.
The days of Minnesota’s patchwork solutions at the most critical position on the field might finally be over after hiring a risk-taker as a general manager. O’Connell should identify the guy he wants, and Adofo-Mensah must make sure to get that guy, regardless of a hefty price. If the guy is good, nobody will care about the costs of a trade.
Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt